Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Guidelines to Address Bird Strikes and Electrocutions Released

April 18, 2005


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) recently released voluntary guidelines designed to help electrical utilities protect and conserve migratory birds. Working with the guidelines, a utility can use the latest technology and science to tailor a voluntary Avian Protection Plan that meets specific utility needs at its facilities.

"The voluntary guidelines for protecting birds from electrocution and collisions with power lines will improve safeguards for migratory birds," said Acting Service Director Matt Hogan. "We value our partnership with APLIC and the electric utility industry, and encourage electric power companies to take advantage of the new guidelines."

An Avian Protection Plan is utility-specific and is designed to reduce avian and operational risks that result from avian interactions with electric utility facilities.

Electrocutions are a particular threat to birds with large wingspans, such as eagles, hawks, and owls ? all species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Wire strikes are a problem for many different bird species. Birds also can cause power outages and fires, resulting in increased costs and inconvenience for electric utilities and their customers.

"Last weeks signing of the Avian Protection Plan Guidelines is a shining example of what can be accomplished when industry and the Fish and Wildlife Service roll up their sleeves and work together on a project," said Florida Power & Light Principal Biologist and APLIC Chair Jim Lindsay.

The guidance document, which will be available by the week of April 18, 2005 at">, references the latest industry standards for preventing avian power line interactions.

"Voluntary industry cooperation has long been essential to our conservation efforts, and many electric power companies have already taken steps to protect migratory birds," Hogan said. "The new guidelines build on and strengthen that tradition."

The Service and APLIC have a long history of working together on avian power line issues. In 1983, an ad hoc group began addressing whooping crane collisions with power lines in the Rocky Mountains. APLIC was officially formed in 1989 as a partnership involving the Service, the National Audubon Society, and 10 electric utilities.

Today APLIC members include representatives from the Edison Electric Institute (representing the Nations investor-owned electric utilities), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (which represents nearly 1,000 consumer-owned electric utilities), 23 individual electric utilities, two Federal utility agencies, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Rural Utilities Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

More information can be found at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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